Prozac is the brand name for the medication Fluoxetine. It is used to treat different mental health conditions such as depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), certain eating disorders and panic disorder. The following points provide some further information about Prozac.
How it works
Prozac is a type of antidepressant, referred to as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRIs). This type of medication helps to increase the chemical in the brain called serotonin, which improves low mood, sleeping patterns, appetite, and cognitive functions such as memory and concentration. It can take a few weeks until someone who starts taking Prozac sees an improvement in symptoms. However, if improvements are not noticed immediately, the person mustn’t stop taking them or miss out on doses. This is because typically, it can take between four to six weeks to start seeing the full benefits.
Why take it
Given the right dose, Prozac aims to help the person with certain mental health disorders to feel better. There is research that shows that the benefits of Prozac are higher when combined with psychotherapy (Maya Vetencourt, Sale, Viegi et al., 2008). Thus, for certain people, it may be more beneficial to attend therapy sessions alongside taking Prozac.
When to take it
If a person is experiencing symptoms related to depression, anxiety and obsessional thoughts, Prozac may be helpful to reduce anxiety levels. Whether the person takes Prozac or another type of medication is usually the doctor’s decision, depending on the patient and the prescription’s side effects. Thus, it is important to first talk to a doctor before starting the medication. This is because there would be a discussion on the side effects the client might wish to avoid.
Who to go to
This type of medication is usually prescribed by a psychiatrist – a medical doctor who would specialise in the field. If you have never been to a psychiatrist, you may not know who to go to. Thus, a good starting point would be your GP who can refer you to the services within the community that are either free or else to a private service. What usually holds people back from going to a psychiatrist is the stigma attached to mental health, which might make the person may feel embarrassed or ashamed. Try to think of it that this is the help that you need; as much as you would go to a professional if you had a physical ache, you would go to a professional to seek help for mental health.
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Dr Marilyn Muscat is registered as an Educational Psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council in the United Kingdom where she trained. She works with children, adolescents and their families to understand more about educational, social and emotional well-being concerns that they have and to help them improve upon their difficulties. She can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 79291817.
Maya Vetencourt J.F., Sale. A., Viegi. A., et al. (2008). The antidepressant fluoxetine restores plasticity in the adult visual cortex. Science, 320(5874):385-8. doi:10.1126/science.1150516